The Government has expanded healthcare services through Ayushman Bharat centres, the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has announced.
Under Ayushman Bharat – officially the Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PMJAY), the Government has reportedly erected more than 50,000 health and wellness centres (HWCs) across the country to administer health services to the eligible population. Ayushman Bharat centres have enjoyed a footfall exceeding 28.1 crore, the Ministry said.
In a tweet, Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan said that the Government was “crossing one milestone after another!” under Ayushman Bharat by operationalising a total of 50,025 HWCs. He added that the scheme “has improved access to affordable primary healthcare services for more than 25 crore people.”
Vardhan thanked states and union territories (UTs) for their role in achieving the milestone. “This has been possible due to the joint efforts of the Center and the States / UTs in planning, monitoring at all levels, standardisation of processes, the flexibility for adaptation provided to the States / UTs, and building on the health systems created thus far,” he said. He extended gratitude to health workers too, whom he described as “the backbone of the healthcare delivery system.”
The HWCs operationalised are dispersed across 678 districts. They encompass 27,890 sub-health Centres, 18,536 primary health centres and 3,599 urban primary health centres, according to the Ministry.
Ayushman Bharat is arguably the signature component of the Narendra Modi administration’s health agenda. Launched in 2018, the scheme delivers healthcare coverage of Rs 5 lakh per family per year to the economically vulnerable. The scheme has assumed heightened importance during the COVID-19 pandemic, with the confirmation earlier this year that treatment for the disease would be covered under the initiative.
The Ministry stated that the centres operationalised under Ayushman Bharat “have helped in interventions such as risk communication, contact tracing, community surveillance and early identification of cases, and seamless provisioning of non-COVID essential health services for ensuring protection of vulnerable groups, such as [newborns], [the] elderly and those with comorbidities.” For example, the initiative has enabled more than 6.43 crore to be screened for hypertension, 5.23 crore for diabetes, and 6.14 crore for cancer. For hypertension, one crore have been able to avail free medications; for diabetes, the number is sixty lakh.
The Health Ministry intends for 1.5 lakh HWCs to be established by December 2022.